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13 Best Luxury Watch Brands for 2022

Michael Fried
Michael Fried

There are many factors to consider when purchasing a luxury watch, but one of the most important decisions you will make is which maker you want to go with. Whether you are a lifelong collector or new to the world of luxury watches, this list is sure to inform and inspire as you search for the right timepiece. Here are some of the absolute best and most prestigious watchmakers in 2022.

Rolex 

Rolex is without a doubt the most widely recognized luxury watchmaker. A household name, its reputation precedes it. Credited with the invention of the first ever waterproof watch, Rolex has been the watchmaker of choice for many important athletes including Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Lindsey Vonn, and David Beckham to name just a few.

Rolex Diamond Watches for men and women
Rolex Day-Date Diamond watches for women (left) and men (right)
  • Founding Year: 1905
  • Owned By: Wilsdorf Foundation
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
  • Why Buy Rolex: 
    • High Quality and Design. 
    • Brand Value
    • One of the largest and most reputed luxury watch manufacturers in the world.
    • Advanced Features
    • Excellent Investment
    • All of Rolex’s watches are handmade.
  • Popular Watches or Models: Daytona, Submariner, Air-King, Oyster Perpetual, Sea-Dweller, Yacht Master, GMT Master II, Datejust, Day-Date (President)
  • Quick Facts: In 1927, British swimmer Mercedes Gleitze swam the English Channel with an Oyster on her necklace, becoming the first Rolex ambassador. And now, as of December 2022, the Rolex company is starting a certified pre-owned program as well.

Patek Philippe

Patek Phillipe is synonymous with quality, excellence, and masterful craftsmanship. As exclusive as they are prestigious, Patek Philippe watches are the watches of kings, queens and connoisseurs. Some of its patrons include Princess Diana, Queen Victoria, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Leo Tolstoy, Pablo Picasso, and Pyotr Tchaikovsky. They are considered one of the “Holy Trinity,” or one of the best 3 watchmakers in the world (along with Audemars Piquet and Vacheron Constantin).

Patek Philippe watches for women and men
Patek Philippe Complications watches for women (left) and men (right)
  • Founding Year: 1839
  • Owned by: The Stern Family
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
  • Why Buy Patek Phillippe: 
    • Exclusive 
    • Masterful in every aspect of watchmaking
    • Sophisticated movements and complications
    • Investment value 
    • Tradition of excellence and expertise
  • Popular Watches or Models:  Calatrava, Nautilus, Aquanaut, Sky Moon Tourbillon
  • Quick Facts: Of the ten most expensive watches ever sold at auctions, eight were Patek Philippe watches, including the most expensive watch ever sold at auction, a Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime which went for $31.19 million USD.

Audemars Piguet 

One of the “holy trinity” – the most dominant luxury watch brands. These watches are definitely a statement.

Audemars Piquet Royal Oak watches in different styles
Audemars Piquet Royal Oak watches in different styles
  • Founding Year: Established in 1875
  • Owned by: The Audemars Family
  • Headquarters:  Le Brassus, Switzerland.
  • Why Buy: considered by many to be one of the 3 most prestigious luxury watchmakers in the world
  • Popular Watches or Models: Royal oak collection
  • Quick Facts: Upon its release in 1972, the iconic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak was the first luxury watch made of stainless steel, setting the stage for the future of luxury watchmaking, and saving Audemars Piguet from being eclipsed by the other contenders in the market. It has remained their most popular watch ever since.

Vacheron Constantin

Known for their impressive movement complications, Vacheron Constantin is one of the oldest and most respected watchmaking houses in the world. They are considered a member of the “holy trinity”, and of the three, their timepieces are the most artistic.

  • Founding Year: 1755
  • Owned by: Richemont Group
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
  • Why Buy: 
    • Geneva hallmark 
    • Beautiful design
    • Technical excellence
    • Haute horlogerie expertise
  • Popular Watches or Models: Patrimony, Overseas, Historiques, Traditionnelle
  • Quick Facts: Vacheron Constantin Ref. 57260 pocket watch holds the title of the world’s most complicated watch ever made, with a whopping 57 complications. Their motto is: “Do better if possible, and that is always possible.”

Omega

Omega has not only amassed a global following for its precision and accuracy, it has been entrusted with some of the farthest reaching missions and expeditions of human history. In fact, the Omega Speedmaster was the first and only watch to have been worn on the moon. Omega is Rolex’s main competitor.

Omega speedmaster and Omega Constellation Diamond watches
Omega Speedmaster – First Omega in Space (left) and Omega Constellation Diamond watch for her (right)
  • Founding Year: 1848
  • Owned by: The Swatch Group
  • Headquarters: Bienne, Switzerland
  • Why: 
    • Reliable
    • Precise and Accurate
    • Brand reputation
    • Rich history
  • Popular Watches or Models: Speedmaster, Seamaster 300, Constellation, De Ville
  • Quick Facts: Omega has been the official timekeeper of the Olympic games since 1932. James Bond can be seen wearing Omega watches in the popular franchise.

Tudor

Created by Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf, Tudor is famous for creating affordable luxury watches without compromising on quality. Still a sister company to Rolex, Tudor originally specialized in professional diving and military watches, but has since expanded their lineup to include plenty of variety for any luxury collector.

Tudor Black Bay watches
Tudor Black Bay watches – Royalty and Specialist Protection Unit (left) and Chrono (right)
  • Add High Quality Images. Add informative Alt texts.
  • Founding Year: 1926
  • Owned by: Rolex SA
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
  • Why Buy: 
    • Swiss movements
    • Rolex cases and bracelets
    • A more accessible Rolex alternative
  • Popular Watches or Models: Heritage, Black Bay, Pelagos, Heritage Ranger.
  • Quick Facts: A testament to their professional quality and durability, Tudor watches are used by the U.S. Navy Seals as well as the French Marine Nationale.

Oris

Oris is known for their high-quality swiss made watches at an accessible price point. They strive to make beautiful, innovative, high-performance watches made with the quality control and standards of excellence that you can expect of a swiss made watch.

Oris Big Crown Pro Pilot and Oris Aquis
Oris Big Crown Pro Pilot (left) and Oris Aquis Date (right)
  • Add High Quality Images. Add informative Alt texts.
  • Founding Year:  1904
  • Owned by: Independently owned
  • Headquarters: Hölstein, Switzerland
  • Why Buy: 
    • Swiss made
    • Excellent value
    • Quality craftsmanship
    • Versatile lineup from dress watches to diving watches
  • Popular Watches or Models: Big Crown, Aquis, Chronoris, Big Crown ProPilot, Divers Sixty-Five

Cartier

While Cartier was originally a French brand, today Cartier is Swiss made and Swiss owned. Still, the influence of its French heritage persists through an emphasis on elegance and unmistakable sophistication in design. Cartier has been credited with giving the wristwatch a universal appeal, including the introduction of the Santos, the first wristwatch aimed at men.

Cartier Watch for women and a classic Cartier Santos watch
Cartier Tank watch for women (left) and a classic Cartier Santos watch (right)
  • Founding Year: 1847
  • Owned by: Richemont Group
  • Headquarters: Paris, France
  • Why Buy:
    • Prestigious 
    • Iconic 
    • Beautiful 
    • Luxurious
    • Swiss made
  • Popular Watches or Models: Tank, Santos, Panthere, Pasha, Ballon BleuTank, Calibre de Cartier
  • Quick Facts: Cartier has been called the “King of Jewelers and the Jeweler of Kings” 

Grand Seiko

Recognized for their beautiful array of textured dials inspired by nature, Grand Seiko holds its own among the Swiss houses that dominate the world of luxury watches. This Japanese house excels with extraordinary attention to detail and artisan craftsmanship.

Grand Seiko watches with nature-inspired dials
Grand Seiko watches with nature-inspired dials
  • Founding Year: 1881
  • Owned by: Seiko Holdings Corporation
  • Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan
  • Why Buy: craftsmanship and understated style
  • Popular Watches or Models: snowflake dial, heritage, evolution, elegance.
  • Quick Facts:  
    • The word “Seiko” comes from the Japanese word “Seikosha,” meaning “House of Exquisite Workmanship.”
    • The stated intention of the Grand Seiko is to “be the ideal watch.”

Tissot

Swiss made with a long history of excellence in watchmaking, Tissot strives to make high-quality luxury watches at a reasonable price.

Tissot Bridgeport watches with chronograph
Tissot Bridgeport watches with chronograph
  • Founding Year: 1853
  • Owned by: The Swatch Group
  • Headquarters: Le Locle, Switzerland
  • Why Buy: 
    • Affordable luxury brand
    • Excellent variety
    • Long and respectable history
    • Swiss made
    • High quality materials and movements
  • Popular Watches or Models: Seastar, PRX, My Lady, Touch Connect Solar
  • Quick Facts: Tissot’s motto is “Innovators by Tradition” and its mission statement is “gold value at silver price.”

Breitling

 Breitling is well known for their aviation watches, notably the Chronomat and the Navitimer. They created the “Frecce Tricolori” chronograph for the Italian Jet Team (elite acrobatic pilots) in 1983.

Breitling watches
Breitling Navitimer (left) and Breitling SuperOcean Heritage (right)
  • Add High Quality Images. Add informative Alt texts.
  • Founding Year: 1884
  • Owned by: Partners Group SA
  • Headquarters: Grenchen, Switzerland
  • Why Buy: 
    • Ultra-precise
    • Purpose-built
    • Superior functionality
    • Best materials 
    • High standard of quality control
    • Built to last
  • Popular Watches or Models: Navitimer, Chronomat, Superocean, Emergency, Seawolf, Avenger II Seawolf.
  • Quick Facts: The Navitimer Cosmonaute was based on the suggestion from astronaut Scott Carpenter, who suggested that a 24 hour dial would be of great use in space. He also wore a Breitling Navitimer on one of the Mercury program missions.

Panerai

Born in Florence, Italy, Panerai is now Swiss owned and made. The Panerai Radiomir was the first military dive watch ever made, and originally worn by the Royal Italian Navy. Once made exclusively for military clientele, Panerai watches have since been worn by some of Hollywood’s most iconic leading men, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. Thanks to celebrity patronage and military ties, Panerei has earned a reputation as a classic masculine watch. 

Panerai Luminor and Radiomir
Panerai Radomir (left) and Panerai Luminor (right), both with luminous hands
  • Founding Year: 1860
  • Owned by: Richemont Group
  • Headquarters: Neuchâtel, Switzerland
  • Why Buy: 
    • Masculine 
    • Very exclusive
    • Retro appeal
    • Italian design meets Swiss made excellence
  • Popular Watches or Models: Luminor, Radiomir, Submersible
  • Quick Facts: The Radiomir was named for its luminescent dial, making it easier to read underwater on military missions.

Longines

Longines has maintained a long standing reputation in equestrian sports, thanks to the development of a stopwatch suitable for professional events in 1878. They are still an official time keeping partner for the triple crown and other equestrian events today. They were an important player in early aviation history.

Longines automatic watches
Longines Column-Wheel Chronograph (left) and Longines Lyre (right)
  • Founding Year: 1832
  • Owned by: Swatch Group
  • Headquarters: Saint-Imier, Switzerland
  • Why Buy: 
    • Versatility
    • Variety
    • Elegance
    • Respectable history 
    • Excellent value for price
    • Prestigious name and reputation
  • Popular Watches or Models: Spirit, HydroConquest, Master Collection, DolceVita
  • Quick Facts: Longines made Charles Lindbergh’s Hour Angle watch, which was able to give precise location- an enormous landmark in the history of Aviation watches. A Longines watch was also worn by Aviator Amelia Earhart.

Conclusion

When it comes to buying a luxury watch, whether it is your first or the tenth in your collection, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. But whatever you choose, it’s always a good idea to do your research and buy from a reputable vendor. While a luxury watch is always a big purchase, one way to get an excellent value for your money is to consider buying pre-owned. Especially if your budget is limited, for instance $5,000 or less. When buying a pre-owned luxury watch, you want to choose a vendor who can guarantee authenticity, like Bob’s Watches. Bob’s Watches are certified WatchCSA, the industry’s leading independent authority on watch authentication and has a great buyer protection policy.

If you have any questions about brands and watches in general, feel free to contact us.

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